BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. - High commodity prices provide an opportunity for landowners to increase their income by converting pasture to crop production. This has created urgency among cattlemen to secure grazing land for their cattle and other livestock, said a University of Missouri Extension agriculture business specialist.

"Cattlemen seem willing to pay more for the land, renting by the year, month or day; by the head and/or pair; or by the acre," said Wayne Prewitt. "It seems just about anything goes right now."

Prewitt warns landowners to make sure pasture rental agreements are in writing. The agreement needs to include the parties involved; location and general description of the property; and terms of the agreement, including stocking rates, price paid and duration of the agreement. The agreement should describe the responsibility of each party in terms of repairs, improvements and right of entry.

Finally, the agreement must be signed and dated by each party, including spouses. "This way, everyone sees the terms that have been agreed to by all those involved," Prewitt said. "This simple step can prevent future disputes. Renting land can be beneficial to both parties. Just make sure the deal is done in the right manner."

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